Top 3 Programming Languages To Learn In 2020

As we enter 2020, it is a good time to review the top three programming languages to learn this year as a software developer. During the entire span of my career, I have used several programming languages and the only constant has been the change.

Alright, let’s see this image below with the google trends for the top programming languages that have been trending and will be the best choice for you to learn in 2020.

Top Programming Languages

That’s right!

It is Python, JavaScript and Java that have been voted as the top programming languages across several surveys and studies. In this blog post, we will look into each of these languages learn their key characteristics and how they differ from each other.

Python is one of the most liked programming languages of all time. It is extremely simple to use and free of any clutter.

The average salary of a Python developer in the United States is $118,626 per year.

In the Stackoverflow survey of 2019, Python ranks as the most wanted programming language of the year by developers. This doesn’t surprise me because Python is known to be a developer friendly language.

What Python Code Looks Like

Let’s write some code to understand what Python’s syntax looks like. Let’s write a simple program to check if the user entered number is odd or even.

num = int(input("Enter a number to check if odd or even: "))
if (num % 2) == 0: print("{0} is Even".format(num))
else: print("{0} is Odd".format(num))

For those of you new to Python, you will notice that this syntax looks way different from the other programming languages. There are no curly braces, no classes, and no public/private modifiers. It is extremely simple and free off clutter. This is one of the reasons that Python is so appealing to developers. Now let’s look at the result of running the above program.

Enter a number to check if odd or even: 56
56 is Even

Why Python?

Here is a quick summary of why Python is ranked as one of the top programming languages today.

  • Simple to use.
  • Free of clutter in code.
  • Easy to learn for beginners of programming.
  • Best suited for machine learning, AI projects and research.
  • Follows Object Oriented Paradigms.
  • Can be used to build frontend and backend applications.
  • Extensively used by data scientists.
  • Huge community support.

Here is a video explaining Why Everybody is Learning Python.

Why not Python?

Python is so developer friendly and popular, but there are always some drawbacks in every programming language. Here is a list of why Python may not be a good choice.

  • Not suitable for Mobile Development – Python is hardly used for mobile development, due to the availability of other frameworks like React Native, Flutter and native languages like Swift and Java. Thus, you won’t find any mobile apps coded in Python.
  • Hard to learn other programming language– If Python is the first language you learn, you may end up falling in love with its simplicity and eventually it gets harder to learn other programming languages. Other programming languages like Java may seem complex when moving from Python.
  • Not used in large-scale software development – Python is not used heavily in big companies for enterprise software development. Languages like Java and JavaScript are used more frequently in comparison. Python is slower at run-time and has limitations with database access. The database access layer of Python is not as good as JDBC or ODBC and is not suitable for large scale applications.

The next top programming language to learn in 2020 is Java. Java is one of the most widely used programming languages that will be a perfect language to learn in 2020.

The average salary of a Java Developer in the United State is $103,464 per year.

In the beginning of my career, I have written a lot of Java code for an enterprise software application. Java is widely used in large scale software applications.

Let’s look at some Java Code

Let’s write the same program we wrote earlier using Python in Java now. The program takes the user’s input and checks if the number is odd or even.

import java.util.Scanner;
public class EvenOdd { public static void main(String[] args) { Scanner reader = new Scanner(; System.out.print("Enter a number: "); int num = reader.nextInt(); if(num % 2 == 0) System.out.println(num + " is even"); else System.out.println(num + " is odd"); }

Notice here that the syntax looks entirely different from Python. Here we have introduced concepts like class, public/private access, scanner and so on. Java programs are more structured in comparison to languages like Python. Everything in Java needs to be within a class or an interface.

Why Java?

Here is a quick summary on why you should learn Java:

  • Java is used in enterprise software applications – One of the primary reasons to learn Java is that, it is used in plenty of tech companies across the world to build large scale applications. Top companies like Uber, AirBnb, Twitter and many others use Java in their tech stack. This means that finding a job as a Java developer is relatively easy.
  • Performance – Apps written in Java are optimized for performance and are faster than dynamically typed languages. The JVMs are modernized and performant, making it a good fit for large apps.
  • Android Development – Java is used in developing native Android apps. If you are interested in becoming a mobile developer focussing on building native Android apps, then learning Java makes a lot of sense.
  • Huge Community – Java has been a popular programming language for over a decade now, and there is a huge community support. When you start learning Java you will encounter tons of resources, forums and books to help with your learning.
  • Platform and Tools – Java ecosystem has evolved over the years, and there are various cool tools and IDEs that support development in Java like IntelliJ, Eclipse and so on.

Why not Java?

Alright, let’s explore why not Java.

  • Verbose Code – Java code is extremely verbose and tends to confuse a beginner programmer. This means the code comes with a lot of repetitive boiler-plate, which could be frustrating to some developers. You can compare the code snippets from our example above to understand the verbose nature of Java.
  • Older Language – The new age developers and startups tend to pick other alternatives to Java. This is because it is older and they would rather explore a newer, cutting-edge programming language instead. If you are planning to work for startups and cutting-edge technologies then, you may want to consider learning a different programming language that may be a better fit.

Then next top programming language to learn in 2020, is one my most favorite JavaScript.

The average JavaScript Developer salary in the United States is $113,615 per year

For the seventh year in a row, JavaScript has ranked as the most popular programming language, in a survey conducted by StackOverflow.

Code in JavaScript

In the code snippet below, we have written a function isEven that takes in a number and checks if it is even or odd. The console.log is used to log the answer to the console. This will not be displayed to the end-user. The console logging is useful to developers for testing and debugging purposes.

function isEven(num) { if (num % 2 === 0) { console.log(num + " is even"); return true; } else { console.log(num + " is odd"); return false; }

Why JavaScript?

There are plenty of reasons why you should learn JavaScript in the year 2020. Here are some of them listed below:

  • It is used everywhere – Almost all the modern frontend applications today are built with JavaScript. If you are working on a modern frontend app, there is no way you can avoid or ignore JavaScript.
  • Lots of modern frameworks – Today, there are plenty of high-quality frameworks and libraries that are written in JavaScript to support frontend development. React, Vue, Angular, React Native and many other frameworks are used widely to create modern frontend applications.
  • Developer Friendly and Ease of Learning – JavaScript is a beginner friendly language and developers who jump into JavaScript, tend to love it. This could be because multiple factors. The language itself is appealing to developers and in addition to that the developer experience is enhanced with the modern ecosystems that are available to support development.
  • Job Opportunities – JavaScript developers are in demand in the global market. A plethora of Fortune 500 companies like Google, Facebook, Uber and so on are heavily invested in JavaScript development, thus bringing in lots of job opportunities in the JavaScript market.
  • Both Frontend and Backend Development – It is interesting to note that although JavaScript is dominating the frontend development scene, it is also used heavily in building the backend using frameworks like Node.js. This means, with modern JavaScript you can be both a frontend and backend developer.
  • Speed – JavaScript applications run fast because all the code runs on the client-side.

Why not JavaScript?

  • Rapidly Changing: This could be considered a pro or a con depending on how you view it. JavaScript and its frameworks are rapidly evolving and today’s JavaScript is way different than what it was three years ago. The constant change indicates that there is a lot of momentum and community involvement in it. But it could also be intimidating to keep up with.
  • Security Concerns: JavaScript code is executed on the client side and the code is generally exposed. Hence, this could lead to some security breaches if the best practices are not used during development.

Here are some resources to help you get started with these three programming languages, for further learning.

We have reached the end of this post. If you enjoyed this post, please share it and leave a comment on what your favorite pick is for 2020. You can follow me on twitter @AdhithiRavi

Adhithi Ravichandran is a Software Consultant based in Kansas City. She is currently working on building apps with React, React Native and GraphQL. She is a Conference Speaker, Pluralsight Author, Blogger and Software Consultant. She is passionate about teaching and thrives to contribute to the tech community with her courses, blog posts and speaking engagements.

Tags: java, javascript, python, Top Programming Languages